A government report has confirmed that tests to ascertain whether a woman is a virgin, virginity tests, and hymen repair surgery will be banned in the UK.
Virginity testing involves a procedure that determines whether a person’s hymen (a thin, fleshy tissue located at the opening of a vagina) is still intact. If it isn’t, in many cultures you are determined not to be a virgin. A hymenoplasty is a plastic surgery procedure where a hymen is reattached so that you bleed during your experience of sexual intercourse.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said, though: “the appearance of a hymen is not a reliable indication of intercourse”. And yet these procedures have continued to be carried out, as another means of controlling and traumatising women’s bodies.
The government review into the issue found that: “there is no reason why a virginity test should be carried out. It is not a medical procedure, and is based on repressive and inaccurate views about female virginity and the hymen.
“It is a form of abuse and violence against women and girls (VAWG) that has detrimental physical and psychological impacts.”
The ban is supposed to be enforced by the government “when parliamentary time allows.”
For Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom Charity, this ban is “crucial” in preventing “a type of sexual and physical abuse suffered by the most vulnerable girls and women in our society”.
She adds: “This is not only an invasion of someone’s personal liberty and freedom but also an infringement on human rights.”
Karma Nirvana, a specialist charity for victims and survivors, have been campaigning for virginity testing to be banned for sure time, dubbing it as an “invasive, sexist practice of testing a girl’s or woman’s virginity” calling on the need to “shut down the virginity myth once and for all.”